Photo of Maryland fog by Andrew Bossi via Wikimedia Commons.
When you unexpectedly find yourself driving through dense fog, you need to respond quickly and calmly to adjust to the sudden loss of visibility. Failure to do so can have tragic consequences.
The state of Tennessee is approaching the 25th anniversary of one of its most deadly multiple-vehicle collisions – the 1990 I-75 crash which took the lives of 12 people and involved 99 cars and trucks traveling through thick fog. To view a recent WTVC News Channel 9 video report, in which survivors recount the experience, click on the photo or link below the headline.
According to AAA, the two most important safety measures you can take while driving in fog are to slow down and to turn on your low-beam headlights. It’s critical to reduce speed to increase available reaction time. Additionally, your low-beam headlights will help you see the road more clearly. High-beam headlights, on the other hand, will increase glare in fog conditions – don’t use them.
Here’s some more AAA advice you can pass along to fleet drivers:
- Use your windshield wipers and defroster to increase visibility and reduce glare from oncoming vehicles.
- If your vehicle is equipped with daytime running lights, you may need to manually turn on your headlights so your taillights will also be illuminated.
- Avoid sudden stops – and remember that larger vehicles need more distance to slow down or stop.
- If you must stop, steer off the roadway as far as safely possible.
- In severe fog, emergency flashers may help increase your visibility to other drivers. (Check state laws regarding use of flashers while moving.)
The Texas Department of Insurance offers these additional tips:
- Be ready for emergency stops by other vehicles.
- If possible, drive in a “pocket” where no other vehicles are around you.
- Turn off your cruise control.
- Use the right edge of the road or roadside reflectors as a guide.
- Listen for traffic you can’t see.
- Do not change lanes or pass other vehicles, unless absolutely necessary.
- Remember that other drivers have limited sight distance and that fog makes the road wet.
- Signal early. When you use your brakes, don’t stomp on them.
- Watch out for slow-moving and parked vehicles.
- If you cannot see, pull completely off the road -- preferably at a rest area or truck stop.
- If you pull off the road, turn on your hazard flashers immediately.